If I thought that somehow I would have a few quiet weeks after my hip replacement operation on January 25th this year, I must have been dreaming. While I was still in Addenbrookes, having mentioned that I was a Suffolk County Councillor, I was harangued by nursing staff about the Chief Executive’s salary and did I have anything to do with the closure of Bury Road Park and Ride? I explained that I had voted against the former and campaigned to save the latter!
As soon as I returned home preparations began again for the county council budget meeting on Feb 17th. I also took part in the Any Suffolk Questions broadcast prior to the budget meeting. The council meeting itself was gruelling, but I and my group were determined to put up a good fight on behalf of Suffolk people and to stand up for staff and frontline services. Of course the cannon fodder on the Conservative benches voted the budget through without question. They don’t seem to care that they are losing libraries, lollipop patrols, youth clubs, buses, household waste recycling centres, etc etc IN THEIR OWN AREAS. Am I mistaken in thinking that Andrea Hill is now in complete charge of the council? She sets the policy and Jeremy Pembroke et al just trot along meekly behind?
Yesterday I ventured back to church for the first time since my op. After the service, whilst trying to enjoy a quiet cup of coffee, and balancing on one crutch, I was told how disgusting “that woman’s” salary was – and this from a confirmed supporter of the Conservative party. It seems that the deeper the cuts, the more angry people become about the Chief Executive’s pay.
So my physical recovery continues – with grateful thanks to the skill of the medical staff at Addenbrookes. However it is difficult not to be really depressed about the way in which Suffolk County Council has gone about reducing its budget – especially as libraries were part of my responsibility from 2001 to 2005 – in more enlightened times. I also championed the eXplore student travel card.
What we are seeing now in Suffolk reminds me of Chairman Mao’s cultural revolution. But instead of the people rising up and waving their little red books in support, we need more and more people to rise up and protest AGAINST these lunatic policies. Please add your support to the many e-petitions on Suffolk County Council’s website. Once the signatures on any petition pass 3,675 the subject HAS to be debated again by the council. The link is here